2011 is going to be an insane year for good books. It looks like all those authors who only release a book every few years are releasing books in 2011. I think Fantasy readers are going to be spoiled for choice, and I see that as a good thing. Let’s face it, everyone is going to have to live so frugally in 2011 that books represent about the best entertainment value.
Whilst everyone will have differences of opinion over what the big books are for 2011, I present my personal list. Yes, there are some notable exceptions: some are because I have so many previous books to read, I doubt I’ll get to them before 2012, and some because… well, they’re just not my taste in books. You’re opinions may vary. This is a good thing.
The Republic of Thieves (Scott Lynch) – The Lies of Locke Lamorra is one of the best fantasy novels ever written. This is a fact due to my friend Simon and I agreeing on it. We never agree on anything, so when we do, you know this is undisputable. Scott’s had a tough few years so it’s been a long wait for this book but I’d buy it for that cover alone.
The Cold Commands (Richard Morgan) – I love novels that try and subvert genres, and The Steel Remains was just that: a contemporary fantasy novel disguised as a traditional one. I’m also pretty sure this is a SF novel in disguise as well, and I really like that idea. I think the use of a gay protagonist as a kick-ass warrior also helps subvert some of the tropes. But what I will love most are the veiled homophobic reviews on Amazon. “I’m not homophobic and have many gay friends…” they will start before launching into a homophobic tirade and 1-star review. It’s sad we live in a world where homophobia is still prevalent, but anything that shows up the absurdity of it is a good thing by my reckoning.
The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Book 2 (Patrick Rothfuss) – I have a terrible habit of reading the first book in a series and then leaving the subsequent books on the “To Be Read” pile. This is why I am massively behind in my Abercrombie novels such that I haven’t included The Heroes in this list. But I’m currently reading The Name of the Wind and unless it takes a massive downturn before the end, I think I will be keen to read the sequel.
Black Halo (Sam Sykes) – Tome of the Undergates was my wildcard read of 2010 and I really enjoyed it. I know some people whinged about a 200 page battle completely ignoring the set up of six protagonists and their relationship to one another, but I really liked it. In fact, it was this fact that made me make Tome my wildcard read. Sam Sykes didn’t even need to threaten me with violence. So it’s natural that I’d want to read the follow-up. Tome had some minor issues but I’m really hoping that Sykes will have grown as an author and overcome a lot of those issues in this second book.
The Book of Transformations (Mark Charan Newton) – As we all know, authors are personally responsible for uploading their cover art to Amazon. Well it looks like Mark Charan Newton (not to be confused with his underworld brother Mark Charon Newton) is just too busy to upload the cover for his book. This is why I have given him a picture of a Meerkat. I suppose he can be forgiven, given that City of Ruin was a book of complete awesomeness. I am worried that for me personally, Book of Transformations will be like Return of the Jedi. I mean, Jedi was awesome, and the battle of Jabba’s sail barge always gets my heart pumping, but it was never as good as Empire Strikes Back. Book of Transformations has supposedly got magic ponies in it , which is made of win, I just hope they don’t turn out to be Ewoks.
Fenrir (M.D. Lachlan) – I thought Wolfsangel was a very good novel that deserved the praise it got. My big problem was that I found myself impatient waiting for the werewolf to appear which didn’t happen until the end. I think I have a better idea of what to expect in Fenrir so I won’t find myself reading impatiently waiting for the creature to appear.
The Goblin Corps (Ari Marmell) – This is my wildcard read for 2011. I’ve not read any of Marmell’s previous books so I have no idea if he’s a good author or not. But I like the premise of this novel, I love the cover, and I think it’ll be a fun read.